The Wii U may not have sold very well during its heyday, but it sure was a pretty decent media consumption device. Unlike the Switch, the Wii U sported a browser out-of-the-box, and not a half-bad one either. One of it’s neatest features was being able to run a video on the TV screen, and continue browsing on the Gamepad. This, naturally, made using it along with YouTube a pretty sweet deal. But now, those days have formally come to an end.
YouTube has pulled its plug for supporting the Wii U browser. So now, if you try to access the website in-browser, it will result in an error message. The official YouTube app on Wii U is still alive (for now), though you are limited to only being able to watch YouTube and do nothing else. This is why using the website version of YouTube was a bit more convenient. Now, if you want to browse while also watching a YouTube video, you’ll have to just set the video to play on your Wii U and use another device to browse.
This end of support likely has to do with the Wii U browser becoming more and more outdated each day. Having launched back in 2012, the coding standards have changed drastically since then, mostly heading in the direction of supporting HTML 5. Since Nintendo clearly has not been doing any updates to the Wii U’s browser, it was only inevitable that gradually more and more sites would lose support for it.
It’s still kind of strange that Nintendo has gone through the trouble of outfitting a browser on the DSi, Wii, 3DS and Wii U (each being progressively better than the former) only to drop the ball entirely and have virtually nothing of the sort for Switch. The system does have a micro browser baked into its OS, but that’s only accessible when it’s time to login to a service like a WiFi sign-in page, or social media access. Ironically, thanks to the Switch’s power and multi-touch touchscreen, a browser would have worked better on it than any of the other past Nintendo systems. Even so, we’re three years into its life and there’s been nothing.